This week on The Humanoids, I’m talking about people riding a recently found wave of popularity and notoriety. These folks you just wouldn’t have brought up in conversation last week. They’ve gone from being completely off the radar to being the lead topics around the water cooler this week. Some of these conversations have just been folks rolling their eyes when they hear a name. Other conversations get people riled up over some of the dumb things that they’re tied up in. Will we still be talking about them next week? I don’t know because I sure didn’t think that they would be in this week’s column when I finished up last week’s. That’s why this column is subtitled Gonna Fly Now.
By the by, The Lowdown made its triumphant return to radio this week. We returned for Season Three on 94.9FM CHRW. You can find all the action here. We’re back on September 29 at 6:30 PM with our NHL preview special. It’s going to be a half-hour of fantasy hockey and general hockey season previews. Because the show is based in London, we have to throw in some gratuitous local content which means team previews of Detroit and Toronto. Expect the number 1967 to come up quite a bit.
So Shaq Vs. has wrapped up its five episode run on ABC. Sure, Shaq got his first small victory against Michael Phelps but I think that even I could swim 25m faster than Phelps could swim 50m. Anyway, the show started good but just started getting tedious as the show’s run went along. Shaq vs. Oscar de la Hoya was fairly boring and Michael Phelps was only interesting because I wanted to see if he would race high or try hitting on Charissa Thompson. Shaq hit most of the major sports but he did miss some of the other great sports. Who wouldn’t want to see Shaq vs. Evgeniya Kaneava, the 2008 Olympic rhythmic gymnastic gold medalist? Tuesday night saw Shaq give a half-hearted attempt at synchronized swimming, what if he actually competed for real? John Salley tried driving a NASCAR stock car in a TV show once, Shaq could at least give that a shot. Shaq on ice, anyone? The possibilities are endless for making this a compelling and entertaining TV show. It’s too bad that they stopped at mild publicity stunt so Shaq can hype his trade to Cleveland.
Narrowly Averted Federal Election
Okay, maybe “narrowly averted” is a bit of an exaggeration. All the Conservatives needed was for one party to get behind them to avoid holding another election. Since the polls showed that no one wanted an election and if Canada did go to the polls, we’d just be in the same mess we were before the election. The thing is that the politics involved in… well, politics means that nothing can get done in Parliament when there is a minority government. It might be democracy in its best form because no one party can dictate the course of the nation. On the other hand, if everyone votes along party lines, we just have members of parliament sniping at each other through the press. That’s why I don’t vote. Nothing changes when I vote. Politicians are fools who are more interested in press clippings they get and getting re-elected so they can get their pension. But with some of the folks running our country and representing our ridings, I wonder who is more foolish: the fool in power or the fool who elected him. Sometimes I think the joke is really on us.
Live Sports Profanity
The US Open of tennis is often an event which sees folks talk about it with profanity. For example, “Why the fuck are you watching the US Open?” or “Caroline Wozniacki is fucking hot.” However, it wasn’t just the folks at home that were swearing about the tennis. First, we had Serena Williams swearing in prime time, though the camera didn’t hear that. The audio did surface later which showed that she told the lines judge that “I swear to God, I’m fuckin’ takin’ this ball and shovin’ it in(?) your fuckin’ throat… I swear to God.” And there was the greatest of all time who told a chair umpire “Don’t tell me to be quiet, OK? … I don’t give a shit what he said, OK?” Such grace and dignity from some of the top players in the tennis world. This is the sort of thing I would expect from… me. Now, if you heard Lowdown Extra, you would be surprised to hear me admit that I swear like a trucker but I promise I will live up to my reputation. Anyway, I don’t know why CBS didn’t have a delay to guard from profanities. At CHRW, I think it was Patrick Ouellet that charged by me while I was conducting an interview. He was high-fiving fans and dropping F-bombs that I’m certain ended up on-air. The difference between CBS and CHRW was that Radio Western is running with very old equipment that meant we could either go without a delay or wait seven-seconds for a cue to start my interview. I think CBS had technology so they didn’t have to worry about it.
If you’ve been following all the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup previews and coverage, you would have heard that everyone’s favourites are Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson. If you wanted a darkhorse, everyone told you to put your money on Mark Martin. But if everyone thinks that Martin has a good chance of sneaking in there and winning the title, does that mean he’s still an underdog? I think not. I think the real underdog is the man no one is talking about. Jeff Gordon has very quietly worked his way to 2nd in the points standings heading into the Chase. His 12 Top Fives was second overall and his 18 Top Tens was tied for the most in the regular season. However, he only had one win which means he starts the Chase 30 points behind Mark Martin. However, he’s been so good this season that you’d have to be insane not to considering a very strong underdog to win his fifth title.
Renault Formula One has done something that has become so rare in F1: They’ve created a story that has broken into the mainstream sports media. Every sports news outlet from England to Singapore to the USA has a take on Renault’s Crashgate scandal. Long, story short: Nelson Piquet crashes car at 2008 Singapore GP, teammate wins race, Piquet stinks in 2009, gets fired, becomes bitter, claims that he was told to crash the car, Renault team bosses resign, and Renault concedes charges. Now that we’re caught up, there are plenty of ways to break this down. You could say that Renault was despicable for risking the lives of their driver and spectators. That’s a popular opinion. Too bad that it’s immediately made moot by the fact that Piquet went along with it. If it was so dangerous, would he have done it voluntarily? You could say that any method to influence the outcome of a race is cheating and should be worthy of a large punishment. Hell, Singapore is considering legal action against ex-Renault big shots Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds. Despite all the evidence against Renault, I just don’t believe it. Even if it was to save his job, why would Piquet put himself at risk by intentionally crashing his car? It just doesn’t add up beyond that point, actually. I still can’t wrap my head around that. Piquet might have saved his job but this whole scandal has ended his career.
Guess who’s getting ready to give the US Senate a big political SmackDown. The now former-CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment and wife of sports entertainment mogul Vince McMahon has through her hat in the race for the Republican nomination for the Connecticut Senate seat currently held by Democrat Chris Dodd. While someone involved in with the WWE running for public office might seem like a crazy storyline (like Bob Backlund thinking he was running for President a year-and-a-half too early), she is actually the sane one in the McMahon family. She has organized regular campaigns to encourage people to vote and she was recently named to the Connecticut Board of Education. She might actually be a halfway decent Senator and most wrestlers seem to like the idea of her in the Senate. The only problem is Vince. I don’t know any way to put it better than wrestling legend Jim Cornette: “The idea that Vince McMahon could be in the vicinity of one of our lawmaking bodies just frightens me.”
The only way that you wouldn’t have heard that Jay Leno was bringing comedy to 10:00 PM was if you were, quite literally, living under a rock. You couldn’t go an hour watching NBC this without being reminded that Jay Leno had a new show. What they didn’t tell you was that Jay was doing his same shtick as he did for 16 some years on The Tonight Show. The only real difference is that he’s doing it about 95 minutes earlier every night. So far, all the publicity paid off. The premiere episode had 17 million viewers… All of whom where waiting to hear from Kanye West (more on that later). Sure, some people might be Leno diehards or were curious how this would turn out. NBC can tout its massive viewership all it wants but until he faces competition in his timeslot, it doesn’t mean shit.
He’s a jackass, you know. President Obama said he was a jackass so it must be true. Unless you ask Republican representative Joe Wilson who claimed that Obama was a liar. In case you’ve been under a rock, Kanye burst on stage while Taylor Swift was giving an acceptance speech at the MTV MVAs and said that Beyonce should have won the award instead. Kanye was hauled out of the awards, issued a couple apologies and appeared on the Jay Leno Show the next night. Jay asked what Kanye’s dead mother would have thought which was a bit callous of Jay but not entirely undeserved. What Jay really should have asked Kanye was if he liked fish sticks? Does Kanye like putting fish sticks in his mouth? It sure seems that he hasn’t taken to heart the lessons from South Park that told him that he had a massive ego problem. He even admitted that he learned something from South Park. Apparently South Park is a better teacher than negative public reaction to declaring yourself the new king of pop or the voice of this generation. Now he plans on taking time off. That’s the worst thing he could do. Who else are we going to laugh at if he’s on vacation?
I’m going to level with you folks. I didn’t know who Taylor Swift was before Kanye’s latest escapade. I know she was a guest star on an episode of CSI but that was only thanks to Jackie telling me she was in it. I wouldn’t have known her if I fell over her. Now, she’s America’s Sweetheart. I think of her like Alicia Sacramone. She was the Olympic gymnast that melted down in the team finals at the Beijing Olympics. The fact that she was reasonably attractive didn’t hurt her new-found popularity. The same can almost be said about Taylor Swift except that she was publicly embarrassed by someone else rather than her own performance (harsh on Sacramone, but true). That all being said, I can’t help but think that this will be the height of her popularity with the mainstream. She might be able to ride this rub from Kanye for another 18 months at the absolute most. The only country music stars to have ever made mainstream waves were Shania Twain and Faith Hill and I don’t think she’s quite on their level. Enjoy the fifteen minutes, Taylor, but don’t let it go to your head.